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Criticwire Survey: Marvel’s Best and Worst

Criticwire Survey: Marvel's Best and Worst

Every week, the Criticwire Survey asks film and TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday morning. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.) Send suggestions for future questions to sam at indiewire dot com.

Q: This weekend’s release of
brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Phase 2” to a close. What’s the
best movie Marvel has released since 2008’s “Iron Man” kicked off Phase
1, and what’s the worst? For bonus points, how has Marvel’s 12-year plan
reshaped the cinematic landscape, and has it been for good or for ill?

A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club

Consistency is a double-edged sword over at Marvel Studios. Just about every one of the dozen films released under the MCU banner has been a slick, competent entertainment, with nary a single quality-control mishap of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” proportions. The trade-off is that a lot of these movies end of feeling like assembly-line products, beholden to a house style that can reduce even the most idiosyncratic of hired guns — Joss Whedon, Kenneth Branagh — to franchise custodians. That makes it difficult, ultimately, to pick a “best” and “worst” among what is essentially a series of variations on a successful formula. Difficult, but not impossible. Pressed on the topic, I’d still call “Iron Man 2” the nadir of the mega-series — an undercooked blockbuster sequel whose moments of wit (almost all of them courtesy of Sam Rockwell) can’t compensate for the general sense that you’re watching an advertisement for other movies coming soon to a multiplex near you. Conversely, my favorite of the Marvel movies, last year’s funny and propulsive Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” manages to keep the franchise gears grinding without feeling like a glorified trailer for other MCU movies to come. It’s also the best directed of the 12 films, featuring clean, kinetic action scenes that go a little lighter on the CGI flurry that otherwise characterizes the studio’s output. If this kind of complicated, interlocking franchise-building strategy is Hollywood’s new business model — and I really hope it isn’t, because I prefer my blockbusters without homework — then “The Winter Soldier” should be carefully studied. It fulfills its role in Marvel’s master plan without breaking a sweat.

Luke Y. Thompson, Topless Robot

The best and the worst are mirror-images of each other, made by the same person. The first “Avengers” was the culmination of a game plan nobody was totally certain would work, bringing in a guy (Whedon) known for his ensembles in order to tie together the disparate franchise characters for a mash-up movie of a sort not seen since Abbot and Costello encountered every Universal Monster at once. The tone was right, and the conflict between Captain America’s old-school patriotism and “Iron Man’s” self-centered libertarianism mirrored a political debate the country was having with itself, while still implying we could all get along in the end. It felt like practically an afterthought that, oh yeah, your favorite comic-book characters are fighting each other onscreen and it doesn’t look stupid.

Unfortunately, “Age of Ultron” showed that Whedon clearly no longer had his heart in it, and it became a transparent exercise in going through the motions and building to the next movie, reiterating the same intra-team conflicts from before that they should have gotten over, and curiously neutering a villain who in theory can travel through the entire Internet and be godlike by revealing that in fact the good computer was simply stopping him from doing that the whole time. Plus it fails even on the basics you’d expect to be intact, with awfully shaky special effects — the Hulk rarely feels like he’s actually there, and Black Widow is badly greenscreened onto that bike. The gratuitous shots at “Man of Steel” and its lack of concern for collateral damage are unearned, and unneeded — I shouldn’t have to be spoonfed scenes of every single innocent civilian being taken to safety.

Marvel’s primary impact on the cinematic universe has been to make everyone want a shared universe of their own, and I don’t think that’s been a good thing so far. Even “Star Wars,” which ought to have numerous possibilities in its universe, is sticking to safe prequel-ish anthology films about events we already know. I have hopes for the “Transformers” franchise to get crazy with what they’re doing, but I think I’m the only one.

Scott Mendelson, Forbes

I wasn’t a huge fan of “Iron Man,” was mostly indifferent towards “Thor,” and I outright didn’t like “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man 2.” So it wasn’t until Captain America: The First Avenger that I actually had faith that Marvel’s crazy scheme might actually work. It was the first Marvel movie I outright loved and it’s still my pick for the best.

Despite being one of their cheapest films, it was the first one that didn’t feel like they were holding back for budgetary reasons, and it was the first one that felt like a big, sprawling adventure, a comic book come-to-life if you will. Chris Evans was fantastic, Stanley Tucci truly anchored the first act of the film with a real warmth and decency that basically shaped the Captain America mythos, and Hugo Weaving is a somewhat underrated villain. The action scenes are terrific, the emotional payoffs work, and it typifies the kind of risky genre-bending that would make Marvel’s Phase 2 sequels so satisfying.

The worst is still “The Incredible Hulk,” which was both an example of Marvel playing it safe and a painful example of aggressively dumbing down their movie to chase an audience that didn’t need to be patronized. We all know about how there was a fight over a longer, more character-driven cut of the film, and many of the deleted scenes were superior to what ended up in the final film. The picture is a condescending response to audiences’ rejection of Ang Lee’s overly ponderous “Hulk” and this was an aggressive march towards the other direction. It’s easily their worst film.

As far as their impact, I think it may have a terrible effect on the industry for the simple reason that now every studio is chasing “expanded universe” franchises. Now whether or not any of those threatened franchises come to pass is a big open question, but for now merely the promise of a Marvel-style universe has pushed studios not just into creating franchises off of presold properties but crafting those franchises with an eye towards arbitrary spin-offs and team-ups and the like. Come what may, Marvel did the hard work of cultivating the stand-alone movies first before teaming everyone up. Not every franchise should be an expanded universe and I’ll be curious to see what the landscape looks like by 2020.

Jordan Hoffman, Guardian, New York Daily News

I like the “Thor” pictures, particularly the relationship between Dr. Jane Foster and Thor. The name Jane Foster may sound as American as apple pie but as played by Natalie Portman, born Neta-Lee Hershlag, she is, to we members of the Hebraic tribe, a signifier with a capital ש.

She’s a brainy Jewish doctor and what’s more appealing than a gorgeous blonde flying in from God knows where to bring you pan-dimensional passion?

Now, I don’t mind telling you that I consider myself to be a member of the Heterosexual Community. But cinema is the empathy engine, and one look at Chris Hemsworth, his cape and his hammer and I’m back at that freshman year party all over again. Particularly amusing to lust after that tight Asgardian while imagining what Dr. Foster’s mother would say. “Do you even know where he comes from?” “Ma, he’s from space!” “I’m not saying don’t go out and have a good time, but why ask for more complication in life?” “Ma, come on, you don’t get it! Even Disney and Sony are letting their properties intermingle now!” “In my day it was simpler, but you do what makes you happy.” “Fine, you want me to date Peter Parker? Every time you look to him he’s like a whole different person!” “Please, a boy from Queens? You’re a doctor!”

Piers Marchant, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Philadelphia Magazine

Well, not to be gauche about it, but to paraphrase my own “Ant-Man” lede, I think we have to give Marvel at least this much credit: They understand the basis of a good superhero movie is not to take itself so terribly seriously. My personal favorite is probably still The Avengers,” as it managed to cobble together a host of characters and storylines from all over the place and gave everyone something interesting to do with them. The moment when the team finally does, er, assemble for the first time, with Whedon’s camera wheeling around them exultantly, is a definite highlight. Not so much for “Iron Man 2,” which was everything a sequel should seek to avoid (fat, sleek, and self-satisfied), or either of the “Thor” films, which didn’t quite have the same light touch. As far as Marvel’s big picture, they have laid out the blueprint for longterm studio dominance that must leave other studio heads gnashing their bleached teeth — and will likely invite numerous copycat attempts (witness DC/Warners attempts to create their own version of the MCU). Whether or not Marvel’s individual movies remain solidly amusing or not, I fear the reverberations of their box office supremacy will be felt for decades to come, and that is not good news.

Kyle Turner, Movie Mezzanine, Under the Radar

I try to be as indifferent as possible about Marvel Cinematic Universe things, but in my heart of hearts, the “best” Marvel movie doesn’t really mean much to me. Ironically, the best and worst were directed by the same person: “The Avengers,” when it gets away from mind numbing incoherency and exposition, has fun with character dynamics. Watching the interpersonal relationships between the various superheroes is the most compelling thing about the film, and Whedon has drawn them well enough that that each have singular voices and idiosyncrasies. There’s enough weight to those scenes, and enough of them, that it makes the experience worthwhile. But there’s not enough of that in Avengers: Age of Ultron.” We get a glimpse of that similarly structured theatricality of acting in a scene were each member attempts to lift Thor’s hammer from a table, but that’s about it. Everything ends up being drowned out by a monotony and humdrum loyalty to an inside baseball-esque continuity that’s migraine inducing. The characters aren’t crafted as interestingly and feel more like remnants from the previous movies in Phase 2. Whedon’s voice is in the film intermittently, not enough for me to latch onto. I went to the bathroom during an action scene and when I came back, nothing had changed.

Josh Spiegel, Movie Mezzanine

I have a deep affinity for “Iron Man 3,” specifically because it features the best scene in the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date: the revelation Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin being a fraud. Kingsley’s 180-degree turn from drawling terrorist to down-on-his-luck Cockney actor is an absolute delight, because it’s just a bit risky. So I guess I’m not surprised that a number of comic-book readers loathe that scene because it goes against years of mythology in the books. For someone unaware of the character’s history, it worked like gangbusters. Also, Marvel’s movies these days aren’t legitimately terrible, but the more I think about Thor: The Dark World,” the less I think of it. Tom Hiddleston (as well as Chris Evans as Loki-as-Captain America in a quick cameo) is, as usual, having the time of his life, but the rest of the film is a dour, colorless dirge that doesn’t really convince me to be excited about Thor the Third.

The ways in which Marvel has shaped the cinematic landscape are fairly obvious — I’m sure other respondents will echo the points here. But the extensive franchise planning and scheduling is the most obvious effect, and not just in comic-book movies. (I believe there are still two more Terminator sequels scheduled between now and 2019.) This is why superhero fatigue has set in, at least for me: it’s not that every other movie coming out is about superheroes. It’s that the denizens of the Internet (myself included) treat news regarding films that are years from release as if it’s actual news. (I’m thinking of the website owner who suggested that more sites should cover casting news for “Black Panther,” for example. Yes, what the world needs is MORE of that.) I’m not sure there’s an easy solution here, since clearly, online traffic is driven by clicks for fairly inane stories built on the foundation of rumors that will likely end up to be false. But it’s a small part of Marvel’s overall impact; as much as I imagine this is a phase in Hollywood, it’s going to be a very, very long phase.

Richard Brody, New Yorker

The most important effect of Marvel Studios’ long-term plan is to do its part to keep the industry running. Marvel Studios employs some marvelous actors in its movies and pays them well; so, when Spike Lee comes along with a self-financed or Kickstarter-funded project or Amy Seimetz or Joe Swanberg prepares a low-budget movie, these actors should be able take a role in it without undue sacrifice. Also, like most production companies, Marvel occasionally brings a really good director aboard and the result — such as “Ant-Man” — is a movie that’s good not merely for a superhero movie but good without an asterisk. The problem with Marvel Studios isn’t the first part, the Marvel part — its characters are giddy sparks for the imagination — but the second part, the Studios part, the production company’s exertion of control in the interest of the brand. Yes, I know — when directors, writers, and actors take the massive amounts of money offered as pay and placed at their disposal for a mega-production, they shouldn’t expect to be working with the unencumbered freedom of independent filmmakers. That’s the business, that’s the deal, and the trade-off is entirely reasonable. That’s also why it’s so rare for superhero movies to be really good without an asterisk. Take Joss Whedon, who approaches Shakespeare with the same dutiful fidelity and sense of brand management that he brings to his work for Marvel. It’s as hard to make a good Shakespeare movie as a good Marvel movie; the external superego of the preëxisting text weighs heavily on creative freedom — especially with a director who isn’t an unusually or boldly creative one. That’s why Marvel, with its panoply of characters still awaiting cinematic development, ought to jump-start ambition with a series of relatively ultra-low-budget comic-book adaptations — say, under or up to around $10 or $12 million, the budget of “Black Swan” — made by audacious and inspired directors not usually associated with such subjects, and who’d be granted exceptional creative freedom to make them their own. That’s a twelve-year plan that would in fact change the cinematic landscape.

Max O’Connell, Rapid City Journal, Movie Mezzanine

“Iron Man” is still probably the strongest of the bunch. It has the same dull final battle problem that subsequent MCU films have, but the novelty is still there, Robert Downey Jr.’s work still feels fresh, and it’s telling a mostly complete story instead of doing heavy lifting for future installments. The worst is probably “Thor: The Dark World,” which takes the least interesting character in the series and drops the only thing that made his previous film mildly engaging (fish out of water comedy) for laborious world building and teases for whatever’s coming next at the expense of whatever’s going on in-the-moment, epitomizing everything that’s wrong with Marvel without any of its mitigating virtues.

As for the good or ill question, I’m not alone in voicing my exhaustion at the never-ending onslaught of superhero movie news, casting rumors, teasers and trailers that have clogged up film sites over the past decade, so the news that DC is trying the same isn’t exactly encouraging, nor is the push for all of these $100-million plus movies to conform to the same flat stylistic template. My choice in 2013 to ignore all superhero movie news from now on did help me enjoy the next year’s film’s a bit more (it’s easier to get into “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” if you haven’t been bombarded with photos of Groot and company for a year), but even that has its limits. At this point I’ll probably just wait until “Ant-Man” hits DVD. At the risk of making 13-year-old me hang his head in shame, it’s just not much fun anymore.

Adam Batty, Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second

The MCU is my kryptonite (wait, wrong publisher), and I’m pretty unashamed about the fact that my critical faculties falter whenever faced with reviewing any of their movies, such is my love for them.

For me they’ve yet to fail to impress, with the 2014 one-two punch of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” the highlights to date. Both films came precisely when we needed them, and injected a sense of freshness into a filmic imprint that was in danger of becoming all too familiar. Signs of what might have been can be seen in “Iron Man 2,” which is my least favorite of the films produced thus far, and which serves as a bit of a cautionary tale as to how this extended universe lark can go wrong, with it feeling little more than an advert promoting things to come. That they righted the ship so steadily and have yet to veer back into such problematic waters since is to their credit though.

I have no problem with the ubiquity of the MCU, though pale imitations and the forcing through of extended universes with other franchises is a sorry sight (do we really need a standalone Bumblebee movie?). As too is the creeping sense of fanboy politics that are seeping in to proceedings, with last weekend’s SDCC inspiring a number of particularly boring attempts to kickstart a Marvel vs. DC flame war, the peak of which was reached when self-professed “Fanboy journalist, ace scooper and menswear enthusiast” Umberto Gonzalez threw out the genuinely surreal declaration that “DC film directors can physically beat up Marvel film directors” via

Ultimately though I do think of the MCU as a force for good; they’ve injected a sense of worth in the blockbuster that was somewhat lost towards the end of the 1990s and I’m genuinely excited about seeing how they take the series forward over future years. Or decades. Or centuries. Hey, could this be the first film franchise that outlives us all? Now there’s a thought…

Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit

I still think “Iron Man” is their best, with “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” being next in line. “Iron Man” works best because you aren’t as aware of their overt formula yet, but “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are the most fun Marvel films have ever been. Their worst is “Thor: The Dark World,” which just seemed like everyone was going through the motions to get to Age of Ultron. Still, it’s almost entirely successes for Marvel with their MCU, and this grand 12 year plus plan has reshaped the cinematic landscape in undeniable ways. Getting to see comic books come to life like this in a way like never before has been a good thing, but the copycat nature of every competitor wanting to world build on their own has been, let’s say, less so.

Scott Weinberg, Nerdist

I actually like all twelve Marvel movies to one degree or another, but my favorite is probably “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Maybe I’m just a Joe Johnston loyalist, but I think the film exhibits a good deal of charm, warmth, and class — in addition to all the sci-fi/action/fantasy components that we all know and love. Also I love that song. I’m still angry that it wasn’t nominated. As for “worst,” I’d probably go with “Iron Man 2,” which isn’t a terrible film, but it does go long stretches without much in the action department. Also Mickey Rourke is pretty miscast.

Michael Pattison, Sight & Sound

Embarrassing that we must talk about, think about and give any more time to any of this invidious filth than we already do — as legitimate and necessary as such a critical undertaking may be. So I’ll quote graphic novel maestro Alan Moore, in an interview with The Guardian in January last year, which did the rounds on my Facebook feed this week. I’ll add only that the “a significant section of the public” has no real choice as to what they see in a cinema. In the UK at least, the authorities determining exhibition and distribution represent a new monopolistic enterprise whose entire working model is based on profit as well as an increasingly outmoded property regime. Death to ’em, end-o-world style, and let’s re-build from the detritus: it’d be Marvelous!

Anyway, Moore: “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”

Jason Shawhan, The Nashville Scene, Interface 2037

It’s hard to pick out specific outliers due to the unyielding hand of Kevin Feige. The best Marvel film (as well as the best comic book film) is Ang Lee’s “Hulk.” It’s weird, it’s wild, and it feels free and unbound by boards of directors. Just look at the uninvolving meh of the Louis Leterrier attempted reboot, made more in conjunction with the MCU; it’s just kind of boring, and unnecessary.

And while the hands-on Marvel vision has avoided any grotesque bastardizations (“Elektra”) or empty shells (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), it has managed to keep the very good films they’ve made in house (“Iron Man 3,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain America 2”) from being truly great.

The best they’ve made since 2008 is the first “Captain America” film, which feels like it could have been a Paul Verhoeven movie. The worst is the Leterrier “Incredible Hulk” — not because it’s out and out awful, but because you realize how visionary and insane Lee’s take was, and how they will never let a director attempt such a thing again.

Edwin Arnaudin, Asheville Citizen-Times

Best: “The Avengers.” Joss Whedon’s fun, funny and balanced extravaganza finally made “The Hulk” appealing, gave audiences a villain as interesting (if not more so) as the film’s heroes and got its urban destruction finale in before such things became unfashionable. It’s all gone downhill since then for the MCU, though “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Thor: The Dark World” join it on the Marvel Olympic podium.

Worst: It’s a coin flip between the “Iron Man” sequels. “Iron Man 2” a.k.a. “The Anti-Avengers” is one of the great miscalculations of our time, a star-studded clustercuss that goes against everything that made the original a success and accomplishes the unthinkable by making Sam Rockwell look bad — something that dull low budget films have tried yet failed to do for years. “Iron Man 3” is almost worse thanks to the double whammy of 1) the ultimately false hope from “The Avengers” that Tony Stark may not be insufferably annoying after all and 2) the blind praise heaped upon it by numerous critics for the simple fact that it was directed by “indie hero” Shane Black. But since the comedown from 1 to 2 was greater than 2 to 3, “Iron Man 2” is my final answer.

Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat, Film Racket

I’d say Marvel’s best is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which oozed wit and originality, and was a ton of fun. The worst is a toss-up between “Thor: The Dark World” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The former was woefully underdeveloped in the story department. The latter, meanwhile, brought out all the worst aspects of the MCU’s interconnectedness. It was so busy paying off things from previous films and setting up things for future films that it never really found its own identity. As for Marvel’s influence on cinema, I think it has been significant. At the risk of appearing to shamelessly pimp my own stuff, I wrote about its negative impact extensively just last month, in a piece I only semi-jokingly called “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Evil and Needs to Die.”

Ethan Alter, Film Journal International, Yahoo Movies

The first two Marvel Studios movies — “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” — both respectively encapsulate the MCU’s best attributes and worst tendencies. “Iron Man” is still a breezy lark of a superhero picture, which benefits from great casting, a rambunctious sense of humor and distinct directorial flourishes amidst a pronounced allegiance to the demands of blockbuster moviemaking. “The Incredible Hulk,” on the other hand, is a tedious series of factory-made smash ’em up set-pieces that pit the bland hero against a dull villain with very little in the way of narrative momentum or personality. Since then, the films have tended to swing back and forth between the two extremes: “Guardians of the Galaxy” and, to a lesser extent, “Ant-Man” are examples of the “Iron Man” camp, while “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Man 2” lean more towards “The Incredible Hulk.” It’s been interesting to watch them attempt this grand experiment of a single shared universe, and Marvel’s assembly line production method has resulted in films that emerge from the studio’s system as attractively-packaged products, even when what’s inside disappoints. But it’s also gotten easier to spot how the same shortcomings and shortcuts recur from movie to movie. Here’s to Phase 3 shaking up some of the stasis that’s been settling over the MCU of late.

Marc V. Ciafardini, Go See Talk, The Film Stage

It’s still hard to believe it’s only been 8 years since Favreau’s “Iron Man” (and, let’s be honest, RDJ) won audiences the world over. The MCU has a proven winning track record and it’s because the production team understands both the source material, and the audience. Honestly, barring all the drama from Edgar Wright’s withdrawal, “Ant-Man” is a front runner for the best MCU film to date (though it may just be that initial IMAX glee that has yet to wear off). Stepping back however, the most improbable and still satisfying win comes from James Gunn’s “Guardians.” But best and worst?? We’ll get to that.

Best of the bunch, in my eyes, is “Thor.” Admittedly “Iron Man” might have been tricky to pull off, but getting cinemagoers to pull for the Odinson seemed a stretch especially with Kenneth Branagh (of all people) at the helm. The Richard Donner-like origin story made us fall in love with the demi-God lummox. It worked and worked on much less than we might have expected in a “comic-book” film. Branagh hit the right notes when he grounded this otherworldly character with a combination of vulnerability, charm and fish-out-of-water ineptitude.

Now, Thor’s second at bat plays more like a victory lap instead of a yarn that pushes his cinematic story/mythology forward. An undercard fight before the main event (read: “Age of Ulton”), it was a pit stop instead of defining Odinson canon. It gets severely bogged down with its own convoluted story and that’s where it fails. While many in this survey might point to “The Incredible Hulk” (or the underwhelming “Iron Man 2”) as the weak links, but I view “The Dark World” as a bigger mess. The obligatory “bigger is better” sequel mentality overshadowed what we loved about the character — Thor and his relationship with Loki. Who gives a flying aether about dark elves??

Luke Goodsell, Movie Mezzanine

The only Marvel movie I’ve come close to enjoying, or at least tolerating, is the first “Captain America” — a nice piece of B-Movie craftsmanship that felt like something of a rousing movie as opposed to a grueling exercise in brand extension. I could throw a rock and hit the worst, but there’s a special place in hell reserved for the smug, unfunny self-satisfaction coursing through “The Avengers” and — especially — “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

John Keefer, 51 Deep

My first major pop culture obsession was with superheroes. If you had outlined Marvel’s plan when I was ten, or even told me they would become their own movie studio, I would have lost my mind. I would have lost any will to connect to other people. I would still be in my parents’ basement obsessively watching these movies over and over again, surrounded by hoarder level piles of comics and graphic novels. Thankfully around the end of grade school I moved my obsession over from comics to film so I could become a snotty high-end geek who could discuss Tarkovsky and Ozu and even the brute poetry of Fulci (it’s there if you look for it). But little did I know that in the interim the superheroes were plotting their revenge against me for leaving them behind. They would come back stronger to aid the dark side of the studio system in their efforts to make ungodly sums of money that would then be spent on making more of the same movies and edge out independent voices to ever-more distant margins. With a mighty effort they would turn the cultural dialogue from discussing films after they have been seen to concentrate purely on the hype leading up to release dates and then after the uncanny opening weekend the film’s significance as far as what it had to say or how it went about telling its story would be meaningless because there is even more coming next year so back to discussing the hype and reviewing movie posters and reading descriptions of trailers. Superheroes used to represent good to me, a longing for adventure and doing the right thing because its the right thing. Now they’re just as evil as every other useless business that claims to entertain but only dulls our tastebuds in an effort to make disgusting amounts of money that doesn’t go to cancer research. “Winter Soldier” is probably the best Marvel movie.

Q: What is the best movie in theaters?

A: “Trainwreck”

Other movies receiving multiple votes: “Inside Out,” “The Look of Silence”

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